Picture Credit: Daily Express
Wolves v Toon
Sunday 25th October 2020
This weekend sees Newcastle travel to Molineux for a match-up with an unpredictable Wolves side that will leave both sets of supporters struggling to predict whether the Jekyll or Hyde version of their team will turn up. Thankfully I’m not a gambling man but even if I was partial to the occasional trip to the bookies, I’d be leaving this one well alone! Newcastle will be hoping to shrug off an appalling 4-1 defeat (despite going a goal up) at home to Man United whilst Wolves will be playing their first match since beating Leeds 1-0 away from home on Monday night.
The best way to describe Newcastle’s league form so far this season would be ‘inconsistent’. In our five games so far, we’ve had a win followed by a loss and a draw, another win and then a loss. Whereas we were good value for wins against West Ham and Burnley, the draw against Spurs was daylight robbery and defeats against both Brighton and Man United were nothing short of abysmal. Away from Home, we’ve won one and drawn one meaning we’re still undefeated this season on our travels (although how we managed to come home from London having drawn with Tottenham will remain the biggest mystery since we scraped a draw at Goodison last season with two goals in injury time).
Wolves started the season with an impressive 2-0 victory away at Sheffield United but followed that up with heavy defeats against Man City and West Ham before a narrow victory over Fulham. Their win against Leeds on Monday night means that they’ve now had back-to-back league victories firing them up the league table. At home, they’ve been taken apart by Man City and were fortunate to just about beat Fulham.
Both teams have struggled to find any rhythm to their season so far, both have proved themselves capable of pulling off good results but a complete lack of consistency from either makes this a very tough match to predict. A victory for Wolves may provide some kind of catalyst for a good run of form whereas a Toon win would see a very credible points return from our opening six fixtures.
Newcastle’s seven points so far have us sitting at thirteenth in the table and Wolves are currently experiencing the dizzy heights of the top six with nine points from their first five matches.
My first trip to Molineux in 2003 was memorable for all the wrong reasons. As a starry-eyed sixteen year old, I was dreaming of Wembley and felt it was just a matter of time before Sir Bobby Robson delivered a trophy adorned with black and white ribbons. How wrong I was. A bitterly cold January afternoon saw Wolves go 2-0 up early on before Jermaine Jenas scored his first for the club and Alan Shearer fired in a penalty to have us level at the break. Wolves retook the lead however and made three separate goal line clearances as the Toon were dumped out of the FA Cup in the third round. An awful away day.
Similarly, my first home match against wolves in 2004 wasn’t much better. A deeply unpleasant atmosphere in a 1-1 draw led to the Toon being booed off at the final whistle. We’d just lost the semi-final of the UEFA cup and this draw all but ensured we’d missed out on qualification for the Champions League. By today’s standards, a fifth place league finish and a European Semi-final sounds the stuff of dreams, at that time however it was a huge disappointment and ninety five percent of the home fans stormed out of the stadium rather than applaud the team through their lap of honour.
Happier memories of games against this opposition tend to be provided by Jonas Gutierrez. In April 2011, the Argentinian ran the show as United ensured safety from relegation in a 4-1 win with goals from Nolan, Ameobi and Lovenkrands adding to a superb solo effort from Spiderman. A few months later and our cult hero was at it again, scoring a great goal at Molineux. This effort alongside Demba Ba’s header meant we could enjoy a fine 2-1 win in a match where wolves had a goal disallowed and hit the post in injury time. The same result this time around would do very nicely indeed.
The past three matches between the two teams have all finished 1-1 with Newcastle scoring first on each occasion. Last season, we took the lead at home through a Laselles header before conceding and away from home scored early on through a well-taken Almiron effort before being pegged back. The other 1-1 draw came in farcical circumstances under Rafa Benitez when Wolves equalised in the 95th minute despite their player dragging Dubravka by the neck whilst in the act of scoring.
Newcastle’s last victory over Wolves came in the championship when Mitrovic scored the only goal of the game. We also knocked them out of the League Cup that year in a 2-0 win.
Newcastle haven't beaten Wolves in the last four matches, drawing the above three and also losing the match before that 2-1.
The ten Premier League matches between the two teams have seen two Newcastle wins, seven draws and just one Wolves victory.
Newcastle are unbeaten in the past six matches at Molineux, drawing four and winning two.
Steve Bruce after an awful 4-1 defeat against Man United - “It is a work in progress for us. We have tried to change and with that it will take time. The defeat looks worse than it really was."
Espirito Santo after beating Leeds 1-0 - "It was a good performance with some aspects to improve. We were better in the second half, but at the start it was very difficult for us."
Played for both
Carl Cort was a costly signing for the Toon in more ways than one. Sir Bobby paid seven million for the England under twenty one striker. He got off to a dream start, scoring a towering header against Derby County on his St James’ Park debut. Unfortunately he also got injured in the same match and in his four years at NUFC, would make just twenty two league appearances scoring seven goals. He experienced something of an upsurge in his career fortunes when representing Wolves for three years, making ninety four appearances and scoring thirty one goals. Ironically, he experienced the same strike rate (almost exactly one in three) for both teams despite the vast difference in matches played.
Other notable Toon players who have also represented Wolves include David Kelly, Darren Peacock and Tumuri Ketsbaia.
The match will kick off at 16.30 on Sunday 25th October and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports without any additional ‘pay per view’ fee. There is also live audio commentary available on the official club site. There may well be certain internet sites showing the entire match for free via a stream but I, of course, would know absolutely nothing about that.
Sunday morning brought the wonderful news that over £16,000 was raised for NUFC Fan’s foodbank last weekend as supporters protested against paying £15 each for a pay per view match. This figure has continued to rise throughout the week and now stands at an incredible £20,000. Further donations to this amazing charity can be made here https://newcastlewestend.enthuse.com/cp/4f56c/fundraiser#!/
Wolves also have their own wonderful initiative ‘Feeding Our City’ and are open to donations here: https://www.spacehive.com/onecityfund2
Like I said earlier, I'm far from a gambling man and dreadful at predicting the Toon so be wary of placing so much as a penny on this. The smart money is on a low scoring draw. I however will nail my colours firmly to the mast - 3-1 Toon. Howay the lads!
Picture credit: Chronicle